I enjoyed watching Love Island as much as the next overworked, overtired, Brexit-fearing human: it was the perfect escape from the rest of my problems, which so far this week include a broken washing machine, a punctured car tyre and a leaking pipe that will require £2,000 of scaffolding to fix. Haters gonna hate, but when The Fear sets in, nobody kicks back on the sofa and says “ooh, I must watch Newsnight”.
Love Island is over now, only it’s not really, because the genius of the show is that, long after the cameras stop rolling in the villa, fans can enjoy watching even more drama unfold in real life. Will Jack and Dani last? How long before Megan dumps Wes for a premiership footballer? Etc. It’s why the first thing I read this morning wasn’t about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit but about Megan, a woman who can teach me absolutely nothing about life other than how far you can go if you have an excellent pair of breasts.
A magazine’s September issue is by far its most commercially and culturally important of the year, and it’s unprecedented that four September issues have chosen to feature women of colour
As an antidote to all of this marshmallow fluff, it’s fair to say that few people would think to pick up a fashion magazine. Aren’t fashion magazines just the same marshmallows, only dressed up in more expensive fluff? Not this month. Sorry, but the current crop of September issues is #goals. Like a shot of caffeine to our trash-TV addled brains, along comes British Elle’s September issue with its focus on sustainability and its cover star Slick Woods – pregnant, proud and outspoken on the issues of the day.
Out on Friday is British Vogue’s September issue, featuring cover star Rihanna with shaved-off, pencilled-in eyebrows that will single-handedly kill stone-dead (we can but hope) the Scouse Brows that for so long have dominated the landscape. I haven’t read the interview, but, according to Edward Enninful’s Editor’s Letter, she talks about diversity, as well as, presumably, her role in creating the mega-successful Fenty Beauty, launched last September and currently on course to become one of the biggest beauty brands in the firmament.
Over in America, meanwhile, the September issue of Glamour has the fabulous Tiffany Haddish on its cover, the fearless actress and comedienne who has experienced physical abuse, foster care and endless discrimination, and somehow didn’t let it break her. “My opportunities are whatever I create,” she tells Glamour. “I really think my thoughts are my magic wand.”
And then there’s American Vogue, whose September issue not only features Beyoncé as its cover star, but as its editor of sorts. According to The Huffington Post, Beyoncé was given full control over the cover, the images inside and even the accompanying captions, which she wrote herself. Most significantly of all, she allegedly chose her own photographer, eschewing famous names in favour of 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell. “I depict black people and people of colour in a really real and pure way,” he recently said in an interview with The New York Times. “There is an honest gaze to my photos.” If this turns out to be true (the issue doesn’t hit newsstands until later this month), Mitchell will be the first black photographer ever to shoot a cover in the magazine’s 126-year history.
I cannot speak for black women, but, as a white woman, I’m over the freaking moon that these four majorly important magazines have all chosen to feature such strong, inspiring and talented individuals as their cover stars. A magazine’s September issue is by far its most commercially and culturally important of the year, and it’s unprecedented that four September issues have chosen to feature women of colour. To those who say that print is in decline: read them and weep. Weep happy tears that finally – finally – fashion is embracing diversity. But even more importantly, be glad that ballsy, unapologetic, truth-talking black women are being given the airtime that for so long has eluded them, and that they so deserve.